View Full Version : I know it hurts to many, but....

01-13-2008, 09:24 PM
..we must face the facts about this new league.

By most accounts, the league is pulling in 1000+ on average, with some overachievers and some under achievers of course.

All games are played. The uniforms are uniform. Detailed stats are up. Local press has been very good to the league. D1 level players are on these rosters.

This is a respectable minor league start, when compared to any of the minor leagues, which I understand must sting a bit to those living life in the ABA or who have otherwised closed up their ABA shops.

Sure, there are things that we (including me) will criticize here, but this is a tough business.

This league gets a good grade 2 weeks in, pure and simple. Hopefully more details will flush out to our satisfaction as the season progresses.

01-13-2008, 10:05 PM
Agreed. The level of play looks (and sounds) pretty good to me. Games are very competitive overall, with parity pretty strong. Crowds have been okay by minor league basketball standards, but will obviously need to improve for teams to get into the black. This is consistent with all of minor league basketball. But, the backing seems to be there, and the product is there. So they've got the foundation to build upon. Things aren't perfect, as some cities can perform better at the gate and there were early website issues, but they're showing the ability to listen and improve. So that's a great sign.

01-13-2008, 10:32 PM
I agree that they are doing a good job so far. But am I the only one that things the future of minor league basketball is going to be directly realated to the NBDL's success? I mean basketball has the infrastucture (small roster sizes, overall popularity) to develop into a sport with a ligitamate minor league system (like baseball and hockey) featuring different levels. Football can't and won't do that. I'm just wondering how long it will take for the D League to expand to 30 teams like the NBA has. And will any of these leagues survive long enough to have their stronger teams join? What do you think?

01-13-2008, 10:42 PM
alkaline137, I have done alot of research on this very question and am torn on the potential answer. the easy answer is "yes" if you believe in the minor league baseball model, but there are many more dissimilarities with baseball.

but, the current budget requirements compared to the potential revenues don't add up in many markets, including some of the current dleague markets. in the end, i believe that the 30 team dleague can be successful, IF heavily subsidized by the NBA, much more than they are now. so, it really depends on how you define success.

even with a solid 30 team dleague, there is still room and moderate demand for additional minor league basketball, perhaps another 30 teams in the right markets. for that second tier to be successful, I believe there will need to be a consortium between the strongest clubs in the CBA, PBL, and maybe even a couple from the ABA. right now, that second tier is a collective "mess", albeit with a few success stories.

01-13-2008, 10:52 PM
I think the IBL would plug in nicely into that 3rd tier...not that their talent would be competitive with the 2nd tier teams. But their lower budget model and spring season would fit in more nicely with some smaller markets.

01-13-2008, 10:56 PM
I think there's room for one independent winter league for the vets that don't want to play abroad. You look at hockey and see the IHL's death, and wonder if it's feasible. But, the IHL tried to be half a step under the NHL, and they got into salary trouble. But, I'm also seeing unimpressive AHL numbers versus past years, and I believe it has something to do with how youth driven the teams are in recent years--there aren't names the fans learn and get to see over several seasons and it wasn't always that way. Consequently, it's harder to brand players with teams.

I, personally, would rather see some local guys who played division one ball but couldn't get a look from the NBA mixed with some other talent than see young kids that will be gone after a season. While not everyone will agree, I don't think I'm alone. I also believe, one way or another, the PBL and CBA teams will come together and that will create a fairly viable independent league. At least, I really hope they do for their sake. If these two leagues keep their current footprint, making money won't be easy.

But, should the NBA just subsidize that league to no end and go head-on in PBL and CBA cities, it'll be difficult. So, should that scenario occur, all bets are off. But, if done right, I think they (a combined PBL and CBA) can own their own niche.

death watch
01-13-2008, 11:04 PM
The IBL is getting stronger every season.

A few ex-NBA players have started playing in the IBL to stay in shape.

The IBL has also attracted many famous street ballers such as Grayson Boucher aka the Professor.

Also the 7'9 freak show Sun Ming Ming played in the IBL last season.

01-13-2008, 11:07 PM
I like to believe that the D-League will be a true minor league which, in no
way can house as many franchises as the NBA...

I have always considered the CBA, USBL and now, PBL, and IBL as "semi-pro"
with players and teams not really being controlled by the major leagues...
Until the ABA gets some sort of act together or closes shop, it will fall a level
below semi-pro.

I believe that the lower tiers can exist with the D-league and at least one
league in summer and winter. It has to be the right mix of location and
market sizes. Keep in mind that very few semi-pro franchises have a double
digit lifespan.

Yakima Sun Kings (CBA)
Kansas Cagerz (USBL)

It depends on the economy and wherewithal of ownership and league structure.

01-13-2008, 11:16 PM
James, give it a rest. You want to go down this path, you know I will.

01-13-2008, 11:27 PM
Well right now it seems that the only logical way that someone can catch on with an NBA team is through the D-League, or by playing well in Europe (I know other minor leagues have had players advance, but in reality, this is where most players get added from midseason). It seems that if the NBA wanted to put some more weight into it, they could aid the development of a true minor league system. They can not only offer financial and marketing help, but can expand their draft so that additional players would have the option of playing domestically instead of overseas. I think if the right markets can be found, this could be acomplished. However I don't think any current minor league cities can offer up the same money that some of these players get overseas. So the only real way to sell the players on the idea of playing in the U.S. is to have solid franchises that act as direct pipelines to the NBA.

01-13-2008, 11:35 PM
I'm not as sure that the NBA wants players from the D-League to "catch on",
as much as they send them down there for experience, training and playing
time. These players are drafted for a purpose and maybe would be brought
up and down similar to a minor-league baseball player. To fill voids, bring in
a certain type of player, or during an injury/long road trips.

The CBA at one time was good for unheard of players, catching on with NBA
teams. Since the Isiah days, that has seemed to diminish. Maybe due to
the birth of the D-league.

death watch
01-14-2008, 03:32 PM
I think Raptors NBA rookie Jamario Moon played in the CBA last season for the Patroons in Albany. The CBA still has a good amount of talent left in it.

01-15-2008, 01:04 AM
Moon played in Albany during the CBA season and then in Gary during the USBL season. Both leagues had competetive levels of play (though the USBL is all but gone now).

01-15-2008, 11:06 AM
..is the popularity and mass of Division One college basketball. College football is more popular as a TV sport, but outside the BCS markets, it isn't a market vaccum cleaner, and there aren't as many of them as you might think. College baseball (outside of some southern markets and the College World Series) isn't that popular, and basically serves the same role that spring basketball leagues do. Their season (late January in the south to early May) is the "shoulder season" for baseball.

Most parts of the country have one other significant college spectator sport, whether it is hockey in the Upper Midwest and Northeast, lacrosse in the Mid-Atlantic states, or rodeo in the Prairies.

While there are some good-sized markets without a D1 college basketball team (Rochester immediately comes to mind), most top 200 metros in the US have at least one D1 team, and that D1 team will come ahead of a minor league pro basketball team in that market in media coverage and fan interest.

Even in Albany, where the Patroons had a great history, the UAlbany Great Danes basketball team ranks ahead of the CBA team on the pecking order. Siena is still ahead of UAlbany. It's hard to succeed when you are #3 in town in your own sport.

D-League teams in big college markets may be doing a bit better, but they still struggle when compared to the college team. The emergence of Boise State has made life a bit tougher for the Idaho Stampede, while Austin and Albuquerque both seem to struggle at the box office like the Patroons.

Many times, perception is reality, and even though your typical CBA or D-League team (and I would include the professionally-run ABA teams like Vermont) could beat all but the top 10 college teams by at least 15 points, the fan perception is that D1 college is big-time, and the D-League/CBA isn't.

01-15-2008, 11:50 AM
The NCAA held this basketball "task force" several years ago. Their prime concerns: falling attendance and players leaving early for the pros. What they've done: somehow sold the NBA on this one-year minimum rule (I still wonder if it would hold up in court, like the old rule pre-hardship), and attempt to coerce the major schools to schedule each other more often. I'm not completely sure that attendance is up, though some schools have taken to arena expansions. Others certainly overbuilt.

Yet, the tournament ratings have been going up the last few years... after going down for a while.

Point: impact of college basketball is overstated.

Now, point 2: does that refute panchess' comparison of college to MINOR pro? Not in the slightest... except to say that I'd argue the Stampede is on a flat line and most of Boise still doesn't know how much Boise State has improved. There's a sort of culture war going on to that end...

...but it's not too different from some "culture wars" going on elsewhere. I mentioned on another thread how there were some detractors to the Flash in Orem. There's a very clear and distinct segment of college fans who understand that everything they support works in a recruiting cycle... so they seek to denigrate the pro game at every opportunity because they want all the fans they can get to their school (and we're talking both Brigham Young and Utah Valley State in the Utah case). Of course, especially out west, you have population increases involving people who are not from the local area. Some will go to the college games because they're there. Others get the pro team going, and have no interest in the college.

I've been arguing that the Stampede have inflated numbers. OTOH, they also have this core (the locals might call them, shall we say, yuppies- hence my reference to culture war). Even last night, without the Stampede playing in the Showcase, most of the courtside seats and half of the tables were occupied. That alone probably keeps the Stampede going. I don't know if the same dynamic can or has appeared in Orem. I'm not sure it can grow in either market... but it exists in many places.

What I'm saying: if you take a snapshot, it looks ugly for the minor pros. If you're using the movie function on your camera, however, you might see a trend. That trend is slower than I or bectond would like it to be, but I argue in favor of its existence. Will it germinate into a full-blown movement? Perhaps... especially if college costs keep going up.

01-15-2008, 01:04 PM
Even last night, without the Stampede playing in the Showcase, most of the courtside seats and half of the tables were occupied. That alone probably keeps the Stampede going. I don't know if the same dynamic can or has appeared in Orem. I'm not sure it can grow in either market... but it exists in many places.I noticed those fans last night and was impressed. There were more than I remember seeing in Sioux Falls last year.

Some markets, especially the newer ones, seem to understand that the D-League will be the highest level of pro basketball that is ever going to be available to them. OTOH I've seen people walk out of Toros games in the first quarter complaining about the quality of play, even though it's never been higher here. That kind of attitude is to be expected in a town so dominated by a successful D1 program, but we have more than our fair share of transplants who didn't go to UT and don't care much about the Longhorns. As I said before, the best way to capitalize on that market may be to move the Toros out of the shadow of UT into the suburbs where the other minor league teams are thriving, but it's unclear exactly how much the Spurs want to work on growing the franchise.

01-15-2008, 04:15 PM
Cagerz didn't quite make it to double digits if they don't play this season (9)...Brooklyn Kings also at nine (I think they came in the USBL in 1999).

01-15-2008, 06:41 PM
Cagerz didn't quite make it to double digits if they don't play this season (9)...Brooklyn Kings also at nine (I think they came in the USBL in 1999).

I was being nice, and credited their season in Columbus. It was considered
the same franchise. If you count D-league teams that came from the CBA,
I believe the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Dakota Wizards and Idaho Stampede all
have played 10 seasons.